Cryptocurrency industry giant, Coinbase this week announced that it was working on and making progress towards securing registration with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a broker-dealer. Registering with the SEC will afford Coinbase the opportunity to among other benefits list crypto-assets which the agency considers securities.
Photo: Asiff Hirji (President and COO, Coinbase)
A statement released by Coinbase and attributed to its President and Chief Operating Officer, Asiff Hirji revealed the company has made substantial progress thus far; it has already secured a broker-dealer license, and alternative trading system (ATS) and a registered investment advisor (RIA) license. These licenses, the release noted are yet to receive regulatory approval.
When approval is finally given, Coinbase will commence operations as a broker-dealer. SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will exercise oversight responsibility/supervisory role over Coinbase as is the case with all broker dealers operating within the US.
Doing business as a licensed broker-dealer will offer Coinbase the requisite platform to increase the list of assets that it can list. A previous statement made by Hirji pointed to the four assets listed on its platform and that the company is keen on supporting them, owing to the regulatory environment in the US. The four assets he noted include litcoin, ether, bitcoin cash and bitcoins.
According to the SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton, cryptocurrencies crafted to be replacements of sovereign fiat currencies do not come under the purview of security laws, notable among them being bitcoin. Debates have however been ongoing regarding the status of other cryptocurrencies. Will cryptocurrencies such as those that were earlier distributed via crowdsales be treated differently? This question remains to be answered.
The SEC has also asserted that the overwhelming majority of initial coin offering (ICO) tokens it has engaged with are under federal security guidelines.
Hirji observed: “There are now many types of blockchain-based digital assets, from cryptocurrencies to security tokens to collectibles. In the United States, some of these assets will be subject to SEC oversight. With this in mind, securing these licenses will bring us a step closer to our goal, which is to be the most trusted way for our customers to buy, sell, and use many different types of crypto assets” (ccn.com).
Coinbase has made giant progress and made ground-breaking moves; in the company`s quest to acquire the relevant licenses and integral to the process of securing same, Coinbase is reported to have acquired three firms that already have federal licenses. These companies include Venovate Marketplace, Inc., Digital Wealth LLC and Keystone Capital Corp.
Whiles Digital Wealth has secured an RIA license from the SEC, Venovate and Keystone are both registered as broker-dealers with the SEC and FINRA. Aside these licenses, it appears Venovate in particular has yet another license to operate as an ATS.
The cryptocurrency industry is a fast evolving industry, with many players continually making major moves with long-term benefits. Apparently, Coinbase is not the only industry player committed to working towards greater compliance with federal regulations and seeking licenses from federal regulatory bodies such as the SEC.
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Images from Altcoin Today, BlockTribune